Missing boater found dead in Charlotte County

Reporter: Claire Galt Writer: Joey Pellegrino
Published: Updated:

According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Justin Riston, the missing boater in Charlotte County, was found dead Monday evening.

Law enforcement agencies searched the Peace River for a 46-year-old man who fell overboard from a pontoon boat on Sunday night.

According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, a report came in around 7:30 p.m. of an accident on the Peace River. Justin Riston and another man were operating a 26-foot pontoon vessel when Riston fell into the water for reasons not yet known.

It is believed that Riston may have fallen off the boat in the area between the Charlotte Beach Complex and the Tamiami Trail bridge. He was wearing a black shirt with gold writing on it, gray shorts with black flames, a black ball cap and eyeglasses. Riston was not wearing a lifejacket and did not have a cell phone with him when he fell off the boat.

The FWC, the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office, the Punta Gorda Police Department, Charlotte County Fire & EMS and the Coast Guard’s Fort Myers Beach station searched Sunday night with J-Hawk helicopters from Clearwater assisting in the search.

FWC is leading the search on Monday. No helicopters are being used, however, because of the danger from lightning.

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